The Least Common Denominator…. And the Charter Schools….

2014-12-02_10-01-49 Philadelphia public schools are in trouble. Not enough money. Overflowing classrooms. And the unkindest cut of all, more than one-third of its students, 70,000, are in charter schools, which Philadelphia has to pay for, but doesn’t control…. individuals are choosing away from us, simply because they don’t think that our schools are meeting the needs of our children…. So what we want to do is to become a part of that choice. Our survival depends on our ability to innovate, to think differently about how children are educated…. Some teachers might have given a lecture on brain development, but that’s not how things work at Science Leadership Academy. Here, kids learn by finding their own answers and working collaboratively on real-life projects…. SOURCE:  Philadelphia schools aim to innovate to escape crisis.

With this post I am going to tread where I probably don’t belong. I have no expertise in the field of education, I only know about my personal experience in the public school system and since that experience is almost 50 years ago it is probably buffered somewhat. But here goes anyway.

I can remember that for the most part I was bored during my public school education. It just seemed like I was rarely challenged academically. Things were just too easy for me. Yes, there were a couple of influential teachers that helped shape me but for the most part my public school experiences were less than fruitful.

Part of that problem was what I will call “The lowest common denominator”. That is gearing the educational experience to the student who has the most trouble learning. While making sure that  everyone understands a particular lesson before going on helps some but it also hinders others. Someone who “gets it” early on is somewhat stifled by that method. Yes, I know there are advanced classes in many school systems to allow everyone to be challenged at least part of the time but that was not an option in my small rural high school.

Charter schools just make sense to me. I wish I had them when I was in high school. It might have directed me to a more fulfilling higher education and future work life. After the fact I have come to realize that I was directed into the wrong field of endeavor. I’m sure my intellect and my insatiable questioning would have gone another route if I had been challenged more.

Charter schools just make sense to me. But what do you do with that kid who has no ambition to learn anything? The one who is just not interested? Somehow they too need to be challenged to think and better themselves.  I’m pretty sure a lot of the problem with these kids is parental guidance. Their parents just are not involved enough in giving them good examples or encouraging them to improve. Although I was not one, I’m sure being a parent is hard stuff, especially in today’s environment where for many a living wage is non-existent.  I’m not sure who said it but I agree with the thought that you need a license to drive a car but nothing is required to raise a kid.

Somehow we need a system that challenges everyone to their maximum potential.  Charter schools in that regard just makes sense to me…